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ESA Galapagos Trip

Natalie Raab, Staff Writer

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The senior ESA class reminisce about their trip to the Galapagos. A ten-day trip, eight of which spent on the islands of the Galapagos, were “cool and a really fun experience” Sophie Peng said. This tight knit group of seniors has been together since freshman year and celebrated their three years together by going on a class trip over the summer. Emma Bittle and Sophie Peng talk about their trip and how they loved the wildlife and cultures they experienced. Bittle says her favorite experience of this trip was seeing flamingos. Peng also enjoyed this encounter but recalls the tortoises being the most entertaining.

“The coolest thing we did was go snorkeling one day. We got to swim with these really big sea turtles and got really close to them. You wouldn’t see them and would be swimming and you would look back and see this massive turtle swimming towards you,” Emma Bittle said.

Adam Mulcahy, Director of the Environmental Studies Academy as well as the teacher who went with the ESA students, wanted the trip to be focused on the knowledge they gained from classes in the ESA program. “Having taken Geography, AP Environmental Science and Ecology I wanted this class to experience biodiversity, global culture and natural elements of another country from the trip,” Mulcahy said. This trip is the largest the ESA program has taken; however, the current juniors plan to visit Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca in Peru this coming summer.

Going into the program freshman year, the first ESA class had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Over the past three years the class has adventured on numerous field trips. The ESA program has never taken a trip as big as the one they took to the Galapagos; however, they have been on several field trips with in the state of Virginia. The senior ESA class has gone on field trips to Afton Mountain, JMU and Grand Caverns as well as numerous others over the course of the past three years. So far this year they have gone to Mint Springs to study Environmental Literature and Natural History, with other field trips scheduled later in the year.

“Our seniors will be getting a tour and Natural History lesson at the Monticello Gardens as well as traveling to Richmond to visit the State Sierra Club offices and speak with their team about current environmental issues,” Mulcahy said.

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